December 15, 2012

"So I will not be writing the scenes of the well-meaning but ineffectual school guidance counselor giving the teenager advice that ironically pushes him closer to destruction..."

"... the casually incomprehending teachers joking about him in the lounge; the parental arguments caused by the stress of having to deal with an unfathomable evil in their house (plus the deadpan authorial hints that maybe they had something to do with it); the school classmates taunting him and driving him further into fury... You can imagine all this as well as I can."

17 comments:

Patrick said...

Fascinating, insightful and very well written.

I understand that you and RLC may not have been life long soul mates, but it appears that you both nevertheless picked very decent people for your first marriages.

phx said...

Very interesting. And a little scary.

I don't think I'd blame anyone for tuning this stuff out, deciding there was no point in following the next violent catastrophe, or the one after, or any of them as long as they didn't get any closer than the television or internet.

Middleboro Jones said...

The son had mental health issues, but the Mother kept weapons at the house. I can also imagine the son played hours & hours of video games, especially "first person shooter" variety, lowering the threshold between fantasy & the real world.

I have a 21 yr. old son with serious mental health issues so I know what it is like to deal with this in your home.

My wife and I agreed when we had children that as long as we have children in the house, there will not be weapons in the house.

Cedarford said...

Your ex made it seem experiential, but RLC's ending was clearly channeling the evil mentally demented redhead Eric Harris of Columbine snaring Dylan Kliebold in his butchery.

Not that it really exculpated Kliebold. He may in all likelihood never had murdered without Harris's influence, but in the end, he did join in.

Michael K said...

I had a neighbor next door with whom we socialized a lot. Judy and John were friendly and successful. They had two kids; a girl whose name I've forgotten and a boy, Jeff. They were great kids and our kids who were younger sort of looked up to them.

A few years later, Jeff became schizophrenic and his sister died of melanoma. Tragic. Jeff was a good looking kid with an athletic build. When I saw him ten years later when his mother had him with her one day on a pass from his residential facility, he was a hulking silent scary looking man.

There is no warning necessarily of impending schizophrenia. The kid in the story sounds more like a sociopath but he could be an early example.

Ann Althouse said...

"ending was clearly channeling the evil mentally demented redhead Eric Harris of Columbine snaring Dylan Kliebold in his butchery."

Yes, because that's the way you do fiction, fleshing out the part that you have from real life with things from the news and so forth. He decides not to write that long form of the story, realizing that it would be bathos, soap opera. I think what I've linked to is a post that proves the value of the short form that is blogging, why you want to do that and not a novel.

Ann Althouse said...

"Not that it really exculpated Kliebold. He may in all likelihood never had murdered without Harris's influence, but in the end, he did join in."

Makes him worse, doesn't it? To have had the ability to chose and to have followed.

pm317 said...

wow! posted on May 23, 2005.

Hope the people related in that blog post got help and healthy. Or may be it is just natural life. Life happens.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Thanks, Ann! I'd forgotten about that one, really.

Ann Althouse said...

It was Meade who remembered it. We miss the old comments section on that one especially.

edutcher said...

And nobody calls the cops?

No, that would be unsocial.

pm317 said...

It was Meade who remembered it.

Because of the word verisimilitude?!

kentuckyliz said...

In my state, the juvenile could be charged with terroristic threatening.

Sometimes serious legal consequences are a blessing. A Parent's desire to shield their child from consequences can perpetuate and deepen problems...and make monsters.

Pogo said...

I believe we've crossed a line in the US, maybe in much of the West. The veneer of civilization is patchy in some areas, completely gone in others. I see us having slipped slowly into barbarism.

And no, I don't believe the crime stats. Made up numbers that don't jibe with hat you see day to day, how the streets feel, what friends tell you.

The post was frightening, more so because it was true. An awful evil that was glossed over,and we hope nothing more came of it.

Deinstitutionalization was not just for mental hospitals, but society in toto. All the traditional institutions that held our fragile peace together have been torn down and the doors flung open, replaced by nothing, except libertinism.

Well, this is what anything goes looks like.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Superb writing style.

Elle said...

Terrifying.

kentuckyliz said...

I am a college counselor. I was joking around with colleagues recently, because I missed all of the required trainings for crisis response training. I told our campus coordinator that I know ALICE, I'm good in a crisis, and I would be the one talking to the shooter, and asking them to come in to my office, let's talk...it might not work, and I might get killed, but it would buy time for everyone else to escape. Just set up a little statue in the memorial garden on campus. Or a floating bronze statue of me sculling by, on the creek on our campus.

A counselor was killed, at Sandy Hook, following the same instincts I just described.